Hello friends, family, and the Global Glimpse Community! My name is Wenting Hu and today, I was the student leader for Global Business day.
6:00 AM Wake Up
As leader of the day, it is my job to ensure that everybody wakes up and has enough time to get ready and be on time for breakfast. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to wake up earlier in order to have sufficient time for myself to get ready. Funny enough, my alarm malfunctioned and did not sound but instead, my internal alarm clock rang in my dream, and I woke up precisely at 5:01 a.m. I guess you could say that I was feeling quite anxious to be el lider del dia.
7:00 AM Breakfast
Fortunately, everybody was on time and after a quick count off, we hit the hole-y Leon road and headed off to breakfast. Following a nice meal of gallo pinto (rice and beans), scrambled eggs, white bread, and pineapple juice, we headed back to the hostel.
8:00 AM Academic Seminar
Yader, our assistant coordinator, held an academic seminar to introduce the concept of free trade and help us answer our question of the day: What are the challenges of starting a business in Nicaragua? From reading articles about the working conditions of factory workers in Nicaragua to pitching what we learned from the articles to the group, we definitely had a very insightful discussion about global business.
9:00 AM Field Trip to Salinas
At this hour, we headed out on our private bus to our first destination of the day: Salinas, a salt factory that exports to many countries in the world. There, we had a glimpse of the process of extracting sea water and had the opportunity to learn about the conditions of the factory first hand. Walking through the warehouse, seeing the amount of machinery and manpower that it takes to produce a single bag of salt, and witnessing the production line in person, it made me marvel and appreciate the work and effort that goes into manufacturing items that we as consumers buy without a second thought of how the item was made and who the item was made by.
12:00 PM Lunch
From tacos, to gallo pinto, to chicken, to pasta, etc., it was surely an exciting meal.
2:00 PM Field Trip to TOSCA
After lunch, a good rest, and free time to plan for our nightly English tutoring, we board our bus to depart for our second destination: TOSCA Sandal Factory, and like the name states, its a sandal factory.
The factory was everything I imagined a warehouse would look and function like – men working the big machinery, cutting shoe shapes out of rubber sheets, women working on the assembly line, attaching strips of cloth to the rubber templates, the loud hum of the machinery replacing the otherwise silent environment, and the smell of chemical and glue filling the air. Seeing the whole process made me really appreciate and reflect upon the amount of work and the number of steps it takes to produce an item. A single shoe takes at least 50 workers to cut out the rubber template, glue on the soles, imprint the brand name logo on the shoe, sew on the cloth, attach the cloth to form a comfortable strap, and clean off the sides of dripping glue to make it look presentable.
Today was a very insightful day for all of us. For many, this was the first time we were able to see in person how the conditions in these factories are, ask live questions to the workers and managers of these factories, get a glimpse of how a product is made, and gauge the happiness and well-being of the families of the workers. From this experience, we as young leaders were able to learn about the importance of fair trade, because paying a worker well and providing them with proper equipment and training not only ensures the well being of the worker and his/her family but also the whole community of people dependent on that source of income.
The most important lesson that I learned today, though, was that through my consumer choices, I can change the world.
Thank you for reading! And lastly, hi mom.